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With the release of "Captain Marvel," Marvel Studios launches its highly anticipated, female-led franchise into the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. Commenting on what made Captain Marvel the right choice for the newest member of the cinematic universe, producer Kevin Feige says, "We thought it was the right time to finally introduce Captain Marvel to the world. She's one of the most popular characters and one of the most powerful characters in the comics and will now be the most powerful character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe."

Continuing, he adds, "We've always had powerful female characters and heroes in our films. But having a female Super Hero franchise title character for the first time feels overdue, and it's something that we have been excited about for a long time, and we can't wait to deliver it to the world."

"Carol Danvers has always been a character fans have had a lot of love for, and she has a really unique and cool voice in the comics," adds executive producer Jonathan Schwartz. "What we wanted to do with 'Captain Marvel' was to give Carol a chance to carve out her own space in the universe and not fit her into the existing continuity or have her show up suddenly on the scene, but really give her a lot of rich, deep connection to the core of mythology of the MCU. It's exciting that we get to introduce fans to this amazing character who has such a deep and abiding fan base in the Marvel Universe."

With many years of source material in the comics, the filmmakers were drawn to a run of comics by Kelly Sue DeConnick, whose take on the character would be the general inspiration for the film. Executive producer Jonathan Schwartz explains why that particular run of the comics was a great jumping-off point in developing the story and screenplay.

"Much like the Abnett and Lanning comics formed the foundation of the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' films, from the standpoint of character and voice, we decided to go back to writer Kelly Sue DeConnick's run on 'Captain Marvel,'" explains Schwartz. "That run dealt with Carol Danvers in a great way and really made her a fully realized character for the modern era in which she finally assumed the mantle of Captain Marvel. There was a voice and tone for that character that felt very cinematic, and we were really excited to dig into and bring to life on the big screen. There were also a few other aspects that we were excited for in that run. One of them being that she gets to be the bridge between the cosmic side of the universe and the earthbound side of the universe."

Comic-book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick explains the inspiration for her take on the character in her run of "Captain Marvel" comics. "My dad was in the Air Force, and I grew up on the base," says DeConnick. "When I pitched Marvel to write a run of comics, I basically said my inspiration was Captain Marvel or Carol Danvers as Chuck Yeager. For me, it was about the metaphor of flight and really kind of exploring that and escaping the bounds of our fears and our doubts about ourselves. That was thematically a lot of what I wanted to inject into the character."

For the comic-book writer, the news that Captain Marvel was going to the big screen was music to her ears. "When they first announced this movie," says DeConnick, "I knew it would be a huge step forward and would be important in the cultural zeitgeist. The message that it sends to little girls and women of all ages is something that renders me inarticulate, truly."

DeConnick adds, "For me, and hopefully many others who will see the film, she will not just be a female superhero; she will be looked upon as simply a superhero."

Part of what made Marvel filmmakers excited about "Captain Marvel" was how "Black Panther" took on serious themes and issues about being black. Similarly, "Captain Marvel" deals directly with feminism and equality. As Jonathan Schwartz explains, "We were all really excited about finding the story and having it infused not only with fun sci-fi action and adventure, but with very real issues like female empowerment and equality, which is one of the key themes of the film."

Filmmakers decided to set Carol Danvers' story in the 1990s-a first for the MCU. In this preAvengers time period, cell phones were just phones, pagers were in, internet cafes were the rage and video rental stores dotted the landscape.

"We were really intrigued with the idea early on to explore a time in the MCU that we hadn't seen before in the '90s," says Feige. "It also allowed us to tap into '90s nostalgia, which, having grown up and been through college and graduated college in the '90s, makes me feel old. And now there's this nostalgia for everything '90s, and it felt that it would be fun to also tap into that period stylistically and cinematically with the '90s action films."

The next order of business for filmmakers was finding the actor to step into role of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful force, Captain Marvel. And they found that actor in Academy Award winner Brie Larson. "When we found out that Brie Larson might be interested in joining the MCU, we had numerous meetings and pitched her the idea for the film," recalls Feige. "She was a huge fan of the character in the comic, and one of the highlights of my career at Marvel was introducing her at Comic-Con and having her come out on stage and stand with literally almost every other actor from the MCU. She was at the forefront, which was a great foreshadowing for how audiences are going to embrace Brie as this character."

Feige adds about the character, "The great thing with Captain Marvel is that she is human. There's a real person in Carol Danvers who gets these incredible powers and has these amazing adventures in outer space. But, as with all the best Marvel characters, she needs to be very human. So, this is not just about somebody who is incredibly powerful and can fly around and shoot photon blasts out of her arms. It's somebody who's very human, who's very vulnerable, and who has multiple dimensions."

"Brie was the only choice for Captain Marvel," says Jonathan Schwartz. "In the very early stages as we were conceiving the character, we very quickly thought of her, because the character was going to be a combination of emotion and vulnerability, strength and power. We saw all those things in Brie from a very early stage. When you go back through Brie's body of work, you see someone who is an incredible actor and capable of conveying a great range of emotion, but is strong in the way you want Carol to be strong."

Brie Larson recalls those initial meetings about the role and film: "When I met with Kevin [Feige], Victoria [Alonso], Lou [D'Esposito] and Jonathan [Schwartz], they showed me some images and they started talking about the legacy of this character. They were interested in exploring the complexity of being female, exploring emotion mixed with honor, which I felt were two things that are really important parallels that coincide within Captain Marvel. This desire for perfection combined with the leniency of having an open heart, and how there's messiness between those two things. Coming out of the meeting, I quickly realized that this could be the biggest platform I could ever imagine from which to tell this story about the human condition, and walking out I just knew we could deliver something great."

For Larson, being the lead of the first female Super Hero franchise presented an opportunity to put herself in the forefront of breaking new ground in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "It's such an honor to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and be part of this legacy of characters and storytelling that is so incredibly meaningful to people," says Larson. "These films are part of what's shaping our culture, who we are, what morals we value. I don't think that I fully understood the scope of what it meant in the cultural zeitgeist until the announcement came out that I was going to be playing Captain Marvel. I've slowly started to grasp the vastness and gravity of it all."

Following Marvel Studios' long history of choosing character-driven directors, the filmmakers brought on the directing team of Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, who had carved out critical success in the indie film world. Feige remarks, "We always love to look outside the box for filmmakers. And for us it's not really outside the box. It's just finding talented people who might not have done movies on this scale or of this size before, but who've done incredibly clever and unique and special films. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have done just that. They've done a number of films that impressed us, and they have a very firm, guiding hand and vision of storytelling."

Feige adds, "We met with them three or four times, and they just understood Carol. They understood her story and the wish fulfillment of Carol's journey of becoming a superhero. They did a lot of work on this character, and it is very special."

Explaining what sparked the directing duo's interest, Boden says, "One of the things that drew us to the character was the fact that she was a really powerful, interesting, unique and independent female character. We are so excited to be telling this story about somebody who's not just powerful but also really complicated and human."

"In researching the project, we started digging into the comics, and we just fell in love with the character, her voice, her grit and her humor," adds Ryan Fleck. "We were trying to figure out how to do this, because we come from a very indie background, but we were aware that Marvel had been making some bold hiring decisions before us with Taika Waititi directing 'Thor: Ragnarok' and Ryan Coogler directing 'Black Panther.' Both are great filmmakers who come from indie filmmaking and very character-based storytelling. When we saw they were hiring directors like that, our interest was really stirred because they're not just after the big spectacle or the big explosion."

In stepping up to direct "Captain Marvel," Anna Boden also became the first female director in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sharing her thoughts on taking the helm of one of Marvel's most iconic characters, Boden says, "I feel incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to be here with this awesome group of people. One of the things I love about this movie is what an amazing collaboration it is between women."

For Boden, diving into the complex character of Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel with Brie Larson in the role was a welcome prospect. "Having Brie Larson in this role is so important because she is such a strong, dynamic and complex person and woman. She brings so much of that to her work and this character. I was so excited at the prospect of creating and developing a character who was just about as dynamic as any character we've ever written in any of our movies. It's thrilling for me to go on that journey with her and create a Captain Marvel character who's very specific and unique. She isn't an everywoman, but she does kind of capture something about what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a powerful woman and ultimately what it means to be human."

Brie Larson, who also got her start in the world of indie films, felt the script was a big win for her and the film. "Anna and Ryan and the other writers worked so hard and diligently on the script and crafting out this structure and story, which made my immersion into the character much more seamless," says Larson. "Anna and Ryan come from the same scrappy indie-film world and were able to easily understand where we were coming from. So, to be with the both of them on a project like this feels super surreal."

Describing the direction in which he and Boden wanted to take the story and the Captain Marvel character, Ryan Fleck says, "We really wanted to explore the life she has and the humanity that grounds her, as that element excited all of us. We felt like we could tell a story that was really about a character journey of reconnecting with her own humanity."

Continuing, he says, "It's also why Kevin [Feige] and Jonathan [Schwartz] and everybody at Marvel were so excited about Brie Larson in the role, because she brings such humanity and strength to this character without being a perfect idealized superhero. Her strength comes with all that swirling human emotion, and that layers a lot of depth to the character."

Boden adds, "We spent a lot of time in a dark room reading by ourselves and learning about this Carol Danvers. We really sparked to the Kelly Sue DeConnick iteration of the character when she took on the mantle of Captain Marvel. It was also very much what Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz were talking about in terms of the character that they were excited to dig into. The character is flawed in certain ways and wildly human even though she is a superhero. She has a sense of humor as well as real grit. She's sometimes a little bit cocky and sometimes a little bit irrational and doesn't make the best decisions for herself."

For Kevin Feige, watching the directors deliver on every level was a great validation of Marvel Studios' instinct in choosing directors for its films. "Anna and Ryan brought a very unique vision to this story and this hero, who has very human origins and yet arises over the course of the film to become one of the most powerful characters we've ever introduced," comments Feige. "They were up to every challenge and elevated the material and film."

(Brie Larson)
 A former officer and Air Force test pilot, Carol Danvers becomes the universe's most powerful hero when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races, the Kree and the Skrulls. Danvers is a maverick and not easily controlled, but through her journey she finds her true self and the path to harness her incredible powers.

In taking on the role of Carol Danvers, Brie Larson quickly found herself immersed in the vast universe of source material from the comics. "I wanted to know everything," says Larson. "So, I read everything I possibly could. I had an app on my iPad that's basically every Marvel comic that's ever been created. I just spent hours upon hours going through it and reading everything. There are different illustrators in the comic books, who all have their own take on her. There's a lot of material for me to work with to create something that can still feel personal to me and can still feel like it's mine. It is smartly crafted, and Carol is incredibly dynamic, which leaves a lot of room to play."

Speaking to what attracted her to the role, Larson says, "This is the most range of a character that I've ever gotten to play before, and it's really cool that it's in something like this. I've never had so much time with a character that has so many different varying levels, which I think was one of the aspects I was attracted to, because in the process you learn a lot about yourself."

She adds, "The thing that I found so unique in Carol, from reading the comics and from the script and learning more about her, was her sense of humor mixed with hyper-intelligence and total capability in whatever challenge comes her way. I realized after going to the Air Force base that the Air Force pilots are like that, too. So, the spirit of her or the core of her is the Air Force."

Commenting on how "Captain Marvel" may make a positive impact on kids, especially girls and young women, Larson says, "Once you know what Captain Marvel inspires within the film, it changes the entire perspective of the rest of the catalogue in this very profound way. It's powerful stuff. Part of what made me feel the stir to do this was when Kevin Feige told me that his daughter hadn't seen any of the Marvel movies and that this would be the first one that she sees. That put things in perspective for me of understanding the potential of what this was and the timing of it."

In the film, Carol Danvers is an Air Force test pilot who, over the course of a very strange adventure, gets amazing superpowers. She is training with Starforce, an elite division of the alien Kree army. As Carol begins her journey in Starforce she begins to realize her true strength level as well as glimpses into her mysterious past.

Describing Carol Danvers, Larson says, "The thing about Carol is that she's two halves. She's Kree and she's human. And the Kree are really incredible warriors, hyper-intellectuals and the best at what they do. Then there's this other part of her that's human, and that is the loving part of her, but it's also the part that makes her kind of sassy and a little brash at times. It makes her really emotional. It makes her aggressive and competitive. It's all of the good and all of the bad in that human side. It's the flaw, and it's the best thing about her."

Larson adds, "I think she's incredibly relatable in that way because we both have two sides of our brains. We have the left and the right brain. We have the logical, and we have the emotional, and we have the war between the two of them. Which one is of most value? And which one we should bring to the table? So, that internal struggle is what keeps playing Carol so interesting for me, because I'm basically playing two characters at once. And that will keep the movie constantly surprising."

"We're tackling this origin story from a little bit of a different way, because Carol Danvers' story sets up the entire MCU, as this film is a pre-Iron Man universe that we're exploring," comments director Ryan Fleck. "It's not meeting her as a human and following a linear trajectory to her becoming a superhero. Carol is trying to figure out how she got from being this human jet pilot to becoming a powerful alien warrior who can shoot photon blasts from her hands."

(Samuel L. Jackson)
In the years following the Cold War, Nick Fury wrestles with his sense of purpose within S.H.I.E.L.D. When Fury crosses paths with Carol Danvers, they become Earth's only hope of stopping a Skrull invasion.

Returning as Nick Fury is Samuel L. Jackson, in his largest role to date in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the film set in the 1990s, Nick Fury is at the very infancy of his career as an agent within the government. "Part of the challenge for this particular film is I have two eyes and hair," laughs Jackson. "Since the film takes place over 20 years ago, I had to forget who Nick Fury is at this present-day juncture in the MCU, because he hadn't formed his opinions yet. He's essentially a bureaucrat in one of those government alphabet things. He's still a badass, but he kind of takes orders and listens to the people above him. He still has a light side that we don't see a lot of in those other movies. He has this weird, funny, ordinary-person sense of humor."

Jackson continues, "He's also one of those people who does not believe in extraterrestrials until he meets one, and only then does he realize that he needs to find some people that can do extraordinary things, because the threat's not just coming from the east or the west on this planet. It's coming from out in space."

Describing Nick Fury's role in the "Captain Marvel" story, Jonathan Schwartz says, "Sam Jackson is back to play a younger version of the character. He hasn't lost that eye yet and doesn't need an eye patch. He is a different Nick Fury who thinks his entire career as a spy within S.H.I.E.L.D. was about the Cold War and these earthbound situations that he's been dealing with. Then there's an event that occurs and signifies the arrival of Captain Marvel back onto Earth, which thrusts him into a new adventure and leads him on the path to become the Nick Fury we know and have seen in all the other movies. But at this point he's never seen an alien, and we get to see his first encounter with cosmic events and supernatural events."

Commenting on Fury's relationship with Carol Danvers, Jackson offers, "There is a real buddy-cop element to 'Captain Marvel' with Nick Fury and Carol. When they meet, they are kind of in an adversarial position. They don't have to have a knock-down-drag-out fight to become buddies, but they must come to a place where he understands something about her, and she understands something about him. And there's a level of trust in that belief of who each person is and helping that person discover something. She helps him discover things about himself, and he helps her discover things about herself. And in doing so, they bond in an interesting way."

Jackson adds, "Nick understands that Carol has a level of humanity that she's lost touch with. There's a literal discovery of self in this movie, and not just finding that thing inside you that makes you go, huh! I mean she literally doesn't know who she is. And Nick helps her discover who she is. In doing so, he begins to understand that there is a way to find people who have extraordinary abilities that aren't a threat and who will be helpful. He needs this understanding in order to go on to create the Avengers Initiative."

For Larson, teaming up with co-star Jackson twice before brought a sense of familiarity for her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. "Sam's my family," says Larson. "We are the dynamic duo that the world didn't know that they needed. This is our third film together, and we just love each other and have the best time together. I can talk to him about anything. And he's just a master-class actor. He's just the greatest, and I was so thrilled when I found out that he was going to be right by my side on this one."

"What Brie brings to this film is a level of respect from the audience that I'm talking about," says Sam Jackson. "She's done a very serious movie and won an Oscar. She's done comedies that people loved and laughed at. She's also been in an adventure story that I happened to be in with her where we're running from a big, hairy monster. But she also has this real-life thing of championing women's rights that's very genuine and a great lead to follow for young women in general. For her to become a person with superpowers is an amazing thing, and it's going to resonate with women of all ages. We have done three films together and I love coming to work with her. We laugh a lot, but when she hits the set, the games become serious."

(Ben Mendelsohn)
A proud member of the Skrulls, Talos is a master of shape-shifting. An integral leader of the Skrulls' offensive efforts in the bitter Kree-Skrull War, the fearsome Talos will do whatever it takes to win.

While Carol Danvers is Nick Fury's first encounter with super-beings, she reveals a much larger problem for Nick Fury in the form of the alien Skrulls, who are led by Talos, played by Ben Mendelsohn. "As far as I'm concerned, the Skrulls are like the heavy metal rock stars of Marvel," informs Mendelsohn. "They're kind of like the AC/DC of the alien world. They're three chords. They're direct. They rock, but they're not noise pollution. The fans have been waiting to see them for a long time. The Skrulls, who are basically these tough, lizard-like kind of space pigs, are big and tough and have the ability to do something that makes them very formidable indeed."

Director Anna Boden explains the Skrulls' unique talent that allows them to infiltrate and take over. "Skrulls are these really cool aliens who can shape-shift," says Boden. "They're like the best spies in the world because they can just instantly become part of a culture, and you can't tell that the person you speak to is a Skrull. In the development of the film, we got really excited about the idea of an enemy who could literally be anybody. They could look like your mother, your best friend, the security guard standing over there. It creates this sense of paranoia."

"We did a lot of research on shape-shifting in movies," adds Ryan Fleck. "There have been some good and not-so-good versions of it. But we wanted to give the sense that there was something organic shifting with the skin, something bubbling under the surface. We didn't just want it to feel like a flicker effect or a morph or something that we've seen before. We really wanted to feel like there's some movement involved that takes a little bit of effort. We worked with Ben Mendelsohn on it, and we settled on a very cool process."

While the Skrulls are virtually undetectable once they have shape-shifted, the ability does have one flaw as Ben Mendelsohn describes, "Skrulls can get into your mind and simulate their host, but they are limited as to what they can access. But Talos is not your average Skrull, and as their leader, he is the best shape-shifter in the universe and is a formidable advisory for Carol Danvers and Starforce."

"We've talked about the Skrulls since the very earliest days at Marvel Studios," says Kevin Feige. "They might be the most famous alien race in the Marvel comics. It had always been about figuring out when and where to introduce them. This Captain Marvel story was the right one to bring them into the fold and to introduce the overarching narrative of the Kree-Skrull War, which is one of the most important and groundbreaking storylines within the Marvel comics and now will be the backdrop to the adventures of Captain Marvel."

And what does Mendelsohn think about bringing the Skrulls to the big screen? "It's pretty good to be bringing them to show to the lesser beings, like the humans and the Kree and all these other galaxy fools. Skrulling is good. That's the thing about being a Skrull. Skrulling-it feels so good, feels so right," laughs Mendelsohn.

(Jude Law)
Yon-Rogg, the Starforce Commander, is a highly regarded warrior in the Kree army, which is in a perpetual war with the Skrulls. An imposing leader and Carol Danvers' mentor, the commander of the elite army unit is a hero among the Kree people.

For centuries the Skrulls have been warring with another alien race, the Kree, and Jude Law stepped up to play the Kree Starforce commander, Yon-Rogg. For Law, it was a part he had been secretly waiting for. "Before this film, it kind of felt like a party you've heard about for years, and you know and admire all the people who go, and then you suddenly realize that you haven't had an invitation yet," says Law. "So, to get an invitation is a good feeling, and I'd been a fan for a long time, and being able to step into and be part of the things that I admire and love is a thrill."

Preparing for the role required Law to get up to speed on the "Captain Marvel" characters. "I wanted a quick education in the characters. So, they sent me some stuff, which I read. Then I relied on the script and treated it just as I would any other piece of writing. But here's an interesting story. Captain Marvel was my father's favorite character when he was young. So, he could tell me all about it, from the male iteration into the female iteration. And he knew exactly who my character was." Law adds, "The themes of the stories and conflicts that are laid there in the comic books are timely and social. They feel relevant. They feel political in ways. They're stories of empowerment, of introspection, of learning to confront your ills and your dark sides. It's why they're so popular, I think."

Speaking of the relationship between Carol Danvers and his character, Law says, "Yon-Rogg is a mentor to Carol Danvers. She has been a sort of pet project for him. He feels responsible for guiding and containing her skill sets, honing her abilities and trying to keep her mind from drifting into the more human, emotional places, and becoming therefore more focused and driven and slightly less emotional, which is rather more Kree."

For Law, the opportunity to work on practically built sets on location was an added plus. "In certain areas they constructed the whole set, but what's been great are the locations. You put this kind of hardware and the suits in a lakebed at the right time of day, lit by the brilliant Ben Davis, and it looks like you're in an alien world. It's kind of breathtaking. We've been to some interesting locations. There's also just a sense of excitement when you're making a movie outside. There's just a dynamic and a scale to it all that suddenly enhances everything. It gives you literally a sense of terra firma."

"I could talk about Jude Law all day," praises Jonathan Schwartz. "He's a terrific actor, and he was really passionate about this role and wanted to understand his character from a fundamental level. He relished playing a character that is very complex and layered. His relationship with Carol has many sides to it, and I'm excited for fans to see this Jude Law performance."

(Lashana Lynch)
A former test fighter pilot and Carol Danvers' best friend, Maria is strong-minded and a loyal confidant in Carol's life.

While Carol struggles with figuring out her past in the film, a big part of it is Maria Rambeau, who has been her best friend since their days as test pilots in the Air Force. Lashana Lynch, who makes her American feature film debut playing Maria, describes the special friendship Maria has with Carol, saying, "It's beautiful to see the female relationship that we have-the closeness, the sisterhood, the love-and the fact that it has been them against the world."

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